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Steal Me a Holiday

I've indicated in other posts that Christians stole many holidays from Pagans, but I don't think I've gone into detail. So if you want to get down to "cultural appropriation", let's start there.


What it is: All Saints/All Souls
What it was: Samhuinn

​I almost wrote Halloween, but that's more secular than religious, so it's probably better to focus on the days following. 

Except since neither is on the day of, it's easy to focus on candy, costumes and parties, not having a holy mindset. True, these are Catholic holidays and not all-Christian, but it still seems like the church is trying to distract from the spooks and splash of Halloween.

Samhuinn (Scottish, "saveen"—most use the Irish Samhain, "sowen") is the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest; the night when those of Pagan faiths generally celebrate departed friends and family, practice divination and turn their foci inward. (See the connection?) They may also conduct new year's celebrations, as Samhuinn is when the Celtic calendar began anew.

 

The lovely Lesley-Ann Brandt, of Lucifer. I thought of Gal, but everyone wants to be Wonder Woman this year; so if I had a party to go to (and maybe if I wasn't so…ah…curvy…) I'd throw on a leather jacket and some dark makeup and go as Mazikeen. 😉

What it is: Christmas
What it was: Saturnalia, the birthday of Mithras (a god worshipped by Roman soldiers), and probably a bunch of others

I'll spare you this one, since we already covered it in Holiday Heckling. But there's a nice statue of Mithras, if you're interested.

 

 

What it is: Saint Blaise's Day and the Blessing of the Throats; the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple; the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
What it was: Imbolg/Immolc

Wow, talk about working overtime to cover the Celtic rites welcoming light back into the world, purification, early signs of spring and the blessing of the planting! (Wiki also mentions Lupercalia, but historians more closely associate that holiday with Valentine's Day now.) The idea of candles comes in because villagers used to carry torches in the blessing of the fields, so the church replaced them with something more portable to represent Jesus as "the light of the world". No surprise, then, that the Blessing of the Throats involves two specially consecrated candles!

…and then there are people like me who can't be fussed to pronounce Imbolg and go with Candlemas anyway! I used to light one of each color of candle I owned to celebrate the light coming back into the world. The words "Hannukah on steroids" come to mind. 😉

​What it is: Easter
What it was: Ostara

Eggs, chicks, bunnies, flowers…all that stuff associated with Easter is actually from Ostara. In fact, it's supposed that "Easter" actually comes from the goddess celebrated on Ostara, Eostre.

The only thing I have to add to my previous rant is that seven year ago, a certain actor from an Old Hollywood family tried to claim that Eostre was a "shapeshifting pedophile". (I heard about it because he texted it to his son—who I had a crush on at the time—and the son posted it to Facebook.) I don't remember my response, but it surely started something like, "Tell your idiot father…"


Next page: the Celts didn't celebrate all eight of these, but I'm covering them anyway!


Holiday Heckling

I’ve had this one outlined since Independence Day and have been putting it off like crazy; but with a holiday on Monday, I can’t leave it alone any longer. Thus, I present “Holiday Heckling”—or, “Look at the bullshit we celebrate!”

P.S.: This was going to feature commentary on all the major federal holidays, but as long as I don’t have anything against them, what’s the point?


Columbus Day: You know, we should be really proud of ourselves for the Bahamas. Blue skies, crystal waters, pristine beaches…but wait a second. Who does the Governor-General report to? Our President?

Nope. Try Elizabeth II.

Well, who discovered it?

An Italian guy.

But we funded it, though, right?

There was no “we” back then. Cristoforo Colombo got here on Spanish money, as he convinced Isabel and Fernando that he could find a quicker route to Asia.

And the Bahamas wasn’t even his first trip—it was his second. (Which makes the claim that Columbus discovered the Bahamas and not us only half right.)

That little rhyme about Columbus “sailing the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two”? Refers to his landing in Cuba and Hispañola1.

The second trip added four of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The third found him visiting Trinidad and part of Venezuela before hopping back to Hispañola and then home. Columbus’s final trip would make any veteran cruiser jealous—five Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, Jamaica, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

That’s right. Four trips in twelve years and not once did he set foot in the future United States. Not that I begrudge anybody their holidays, but why do we celebrate a non-American discovering sixteen countries that aren’t us?

I like the trend toward “Indigenous Peoples Day”. Native Americans have actually made contributions to this country, unlike Columbus!

Flag of the Bahamas

Thanksgiving: My notes say, “celebrating giving fatal diseases to the natives and eventually herding them into designated spaces so we could sprawl across the country like the grabby fatcats we were and are”. Which says a lot…I don’t think I need to elaborate.

I hate the Trail of Tears. I hate that the reservations are cesspools of poverty and addiction.

I hate—though it’s not directly related to Thanksgiving—the fact that we barged into Hawaii, said, “Ooo, this is pretty!” and annexed it.

I hate that so many non-essential companies stay open on Thanksgiving. (I mean retail…I thank that gods for the restaurants that cook for us!) Beyond stealing from Native Americans, we have to steal the holiday where we give thanks for food and family and all the things we’re so lucky to have?

How is it that the Chinese/Taiwanese have the idea down better than we do, closing on Thanksgiving and staying open on Christmas? I realize that I live in a largely Christian area, so this might not go over well with some people and businesses, but still…

Admiral Joseph J. Clark, a Cherokee, and the highest-ranking Native American member of the military.

Christmas: good Goddess…where do I start?

Even if we suppose the Christos was an actual demigod and not just a spiritual being who has never come to Earth; he absolutely, positively was NOT BORN IN DECEMBER!

The bible (if you believe that’s non-fiction) says there were shepherds out with the sheep supervising the lambing.

Now I don’t know when lambing season is in Israel, but here in Michigan, lambing is in February! (One of the band moms I used to be friends with on FB posted photos of lambs being bottle-fed—that’s how I know.)

Christmas was invented to cover the massive Roman party known as Saturnalia. Not sure why the church doesn’t just move Christmas to February, unless they think it will cause confusion with Easter.

Too late for that one, though…I spent my whole childhood believing the Christos magically grew up and died in less than a year. >.<

I’d invite you to an egg nog party on Saturnalia, but I think we’d all regret it! 😉

​MLK Day: I appreciate what MLK did for this country—calling attention to racism and trying to get both sides to work together, but why are we only celebrating one civil rights leader? What about Rosa Parks? Dred Scott? Nelson Mandela? John Lewis, who is alive and kicking asses all over Congress? MLK Day isn’t stupid, it should just be more inclusive. Why isn’t there any action toward changing it to something like “Civil Rights Day”?

Maybe we should acknowledge the wonderful CRLs still living? (Like John Lewis, who is pictured here.)

Presidents’ Day: up until November 9, 2016, I was completely cool with Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays being merged into Presidents’ Day. But now that it means we’re honoring every president? Nope. Abso-frickin-lutely NOT. Chump should never be honored. Unless someone invents “Asshole of the Year” or something.

Barack and Joe—America’s best friends ♥

Easterthis holiday is honestly just as bad as Christmas—though instead of hiding the relevant Pagan holiday, it schedules itself based on the Pagan holiday. (And yes, I’m trying valiantly to ignore the fact that my ex-muse is staring at me as I type this. Thank you for noticing.)

So why does Easter shift every year if it’s based on a Pagan holiday? Ostara is only part of the calculation of Easter. Whoever plans the calendars each year (or for several years in advance) places the word “Easter” on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox. (We have the geniuses at the Council of Nicea to blame for this one. I think they were also responsible for removing the concept of reincarnation from Christianity, so double thanks, assholes.)

Not to mention all the questions the trial of the Christos raises, like why the Sanhedrin suddenly decided to violate their rules concerning litigation. Why Pontius Pilatus could be cowed by a simple rabble (when Rome is almighty), then slaughters a thousand Samaritans on a mystical pottery hunt not two years later without batting an eyelash. How it’s awfully convenient that Claudia Procula (whose existence is barely more verifiable than the Christos himself, I might add) had a dream about not executing Yeshua, just like when Calpurnia told Julius Caesar not to go to his meeting. But that’s another pile of arguments.

This was a header for a profile I had…I don’t know why PP makes me think of Viva la Vida

Independence Day: I know I’m not the only one complaining about this…I’ve seen it elsewhere.

Why in the names of all the gods at once do we call it the “Fourth of July”? Christmas is not also referred to as the “Twenty-Fifth of December”! It’s Independence Day, you morons!

Nothing wrong with celebrating our independence; especially since everyone else does it. (Plus it’s still not as stupid as Bastille Day. Ask me about that sometime!)

No, I just think it’s weird that we celebrate freeing ourselves…from a country that has become our good buddies. (Or “mates”, in their parlance.)

Despite being very English (proven with a DNA test!), I’m actually in love with Ireland—this just fit the theme

Labor Day: eh. I believe this holiday is supposed to celebrate the impact of how unions have changed the course of American history, but it’s been lost on the states that have been forced into Right to Work…not to mention everyone else just celebrates it as the end of summer. (Not sure why you want to celebrate that, either, but not my problem!)

I used to ride go karts on Labor Day before going home

(ETA October 2019: pay networks should run labor movies like Matewan and Pride that day, especially the former.)

+++++

1Hispañola [Iss-span-yo-la] is the island that makes up Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Do you like my new fleuron? It means “tiger” in Japanese. I’m going to try giving that a whirl instead of the Goddess symbol, as I usually use.

 


Down on the Troll Farm

or: Reddit Ridiculous

 

Sometimes it feels like the Universe means for you to stumble on something. That something may not always be pretty, but if you've changed your mind (or at least have serious questions by the end), the Universe has done its job.

 

I haven't said much about it, but I'm fan of geisha. (I was going to write "pretty passionate", but I'm not one who scours every corner of the internet looking for pictures and news about them.) Going to an ozashiki or enkai (a geisha banquet—the first is the industry term, the second is the customer term) is on my bucket list. I was talking about my bucket list with new friend K last night, mentioned Sayuki (from Australia, she was on Oprah) and went to double-check that the geisha from Saint Louis went by the artistic name Kimicho. (She did…more on that in a minute.) Since I learned about Kimicho from a YouTube series, that's where I'd gone to factcheck and happened to click on her Instagram in the process. Deleted.

Oh no! I thought. She must have resigned! (Being a geisha is such demanding work that I'm not sure very many hang on more than five years after completing the last phase of their training anymore.) So I googled "Kimicho of Yoshinoya", found the geisha subreddit, found a post confirming that she'd retired (I guess anyone in that business can retire—you don't have to have been in a certain length before changing from "resigned")…and found a nasty "public service announcement" against Sayuki.

 

I'm not going to go into (much) detail, and I'm certainly not going to link it—if I want that much bitchiness on my blog, I'll generate it my own self, thank you!

(I'm going to call the angry blogger "AB" in the rest of this post for the sake of simplicity, though.)


Flag of Shinagawa, where the Yoshinoya okiya is located

One of Sayuki's big "selling points" (for lack of a better term) was that when her okasan (house mother/supervisor) retired, she refused to let Sayuki inherit because she was white. (This is the first time it occurs to me that that claim makes no sense. Why would you take someone into the profession if you weren't willing to treat them the same way as everyone else?) AB says that that's not the case—Sayuki's okasan died before she finished training, and when she petitioned the kemban (geisha union/board) to take over the house, they said no. In fact, she broke the rules so many times that she was eventually kicked out. (I believe Sayuki used the "because I'm white" excuse there, too.)

Another claim AB makes is that Sayuki is lying when she says that she's the first Western geisha, as there were women from Eastern Europe who went into the profession in WWII. Em…where's your citation, AB? I've read every (modern) book on geisha (or almost all of them, and only the ones in English, since I'm neither otaku nor weaboo) and I've never heard of these women—not even in Lesley Downer's book, which goes all the way back to the courtesans of the twelfth century or so! And just because they were born outside of Asia does not make them "Westerners" in my book. If you were born in the Eastern Hemisphere, you are an Easterner, and fuck any anthropologist or other "expert" who says otherwise! (In that case, though, Sayuki would still not be the first Western geisha, as she's from Australia.)


I'm into using images to break up parts of this post, so here's the Missouri state flag!

Blah, blah, blah; negative shit, negative shit, fraud.

WHOA! Fraud? Where on Earth did you get that AB?! (She has a lot of links at the bottom of her so-called PSA, but with no in-text citations, I'm not sure what goes where.) She claims that Sayuki was arrested in New Zealand on fraud charges and "can never go back". When I read "so-and-so can never go back to [Country]", I immediately assumed that it's because they're banned, but I doubt anyone would be banned from a country for fraud unless it was a major scandal like Enron or something. So again with the making Sayuki seem worse than she is, as I assume that Little Miss Angry Blogger actually means "can't go back unless she wants to go to jail". (I should point out that when Person A says Person B got kicked out of somewhere, I hesitate. Someone once told me that a friend of mine got deported from Brazil because he didn't have a "performer's permit"—or whatever—and Friend told me later that that never happened.)

 

As if that wasn't enough, AB bragged about her and her friends trolling Sayuki on reddit.

(Cue me doing a, "Yeah, that's real classy!" eye roll.)

Apparently Sayuki tried to do an AMA (ask me anything) twice? (I read it late last night and was annoyed the whole time, so I can't tell you how much I retained.) AB crowed that she and her little buddies "shut her down. Hard" both times. The second time, they were so vicious that reddit closed the thread early. AB seems to think that that's a sign of how stupid/how much of a scammer Sayuki is, but I think it's a sign of everyone in attendance being bitchy little brats(I've been to a few AMAs and most people don't spend their time bullying the guest—or if they do, reddit is the one that "shuts them down", and quickly.)

Contrary to what the r/geisha mods seem to believe, bragging about cyber harassment is not the way to encourage new members to join you, regardless of whether you feel someone is a scammer, an internet stalker, or whatever. The mods can say that they don't condone trolling, but if you post a link (as an "announcement") to a blog where someone boasts about mistreating someone else, then yes, you certainly do approve, however tacitly.

I'll let my response to them say the rest:

I was going to become a member of this community, but when you promote a post where someone brags about all of you trolling someone on here, the idea died. Fast.

I don't care if Sayuki/FG+ is a fraud—you don't attract people by saying how “awesome” it is that you were able to troll her to death. Trolling doesn't fix anything, and it sure as hell doesn't attract new members to your subreddit. If anything, they're going to be like me—afraid that they'll have their knowledge questioned (even though they've read every book ever published on the subject), afraid they'll be treated like crap because they're American, etcetera.

Lest you think I'm siding with FG, I should point out that that post—nasty though it may be—gave me Serious Questions about her and what she's doing. But as I've made clear, I'm not going to side with you, either.

(*steps back and waits for the inevitable insults that come with randomly picking "East Tiger" as her handle*)

+"FG" is Fiona Graham, Sayuki's legal name. Also, my handle wasn't randomly picked, but they don't need to know that.

 

By the way: that bullshit AB (and the mod) posted about Sayuki being "fake" is just that—bullshit.

So she didn't finish training. A lot of people start acting without a degree or even having taken classes—look at the Harry Potter kids! (I know this comes off as callous, but I get the idea that classes are what actors do in between roles to fill the time. Thank you, television.)

So she's not with a geisha house or union. Saying that makes her fake is like saying an actor is fake because he isn't with SAG-AFTRA, Equity, or a theatre group (if he's in the minor leagues).

In the words of the legendary Geico commercial:

AB and her buddies can't even argue that Sayuki is taking away business. A true "expert" would probably feel the same way as AB et al. and not request Sayuki or her apprentices for their enkai. A tourist (or even an unconnected local) can't host their own enkai—however small—because of the old ichigen san kotowari ("the first time customer is refused"). It's not cool for Sayuki to harass Angry Blogger and others (if that's even true), but the same goes for the other side. Sayuki should serve the tourists and the snooty geisha fans should ignore her—that's it. No more snipping.

 


(my name in katakana)


Medicare is NOT Awesome!

So far, it’s only a giant pain in the arse and makes me miss being Medicaid-exclusive.

And it’s not just me. My grandma complains about it all the time. Last year, my dad was having financial issues and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

“You’re on Medicare now and your copays have gone up,” I reminded him.

But suddenly having copays and deductibles to deal with isn’t my problem–it’s my care going woggy!

 

Medicaid Primary

Medicare Primary

Medical Free [1, 2] Free–so far
Dental Free Not Covered
Vision Free Not Covered
Chiropractic Free
(Max 18 visits)
$8.01-$40.01 [3]
Mental Health Free

(Max 20 visits)
[4]
Prescriptions Free $0-3 [5]

[1] The state was supposed to bill me for copays every three months (for everything listed here), but since I was broke, they gave me everything for free. In fact, they billed me $8 once, then wrote me a few months later to give me the money back!
[2] As long as you picked the right provider(s) for everything.
[3] I now have to be in pain to get them to cover the bulk of the cost.
[4] Depends on who you see. In private practice (and after paying my deductible), it was $23/session. At a public/low cost clinic, it’s free.
[5] My happy pills cost $3/90d at Walgreens, and are free at Walmart–possibly because the latter already charges $4 for that generic. (Unfortunately, I’ve also got a separate headache with WM right now.)

I’m sorry…what part of losing coverage is “awesome”? What part of having to jump through hoops is “awesome”? What part of my father having increased costs is “awesome”?

And how exactly does this person think it’s “awesome” when she’s not even on it? She works for a man so wealthy that he drives a fucking Jaguar! She probably has a really sweet private plan!

 

Don’t listen to the people who shout, “Medicare for everyone!”

Unless they fix dental, vision, and other non-inclusive things before handing it out to all and sundry, Medicare is NOT awesome!


Aside

Bitcoin Bug?

I finally jumped onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon on Friday–$5 each of bitcoin and ethereum. I probably won’t make much profit (or at least not very fast), but I thought I’d try it out anyway.

Don’t ask me why I thought it was necessary to put widgets on my homepage…it just seemed like a good idea. (Besides, after all the time I spent looking for a non-java widget, I wasn’t going to give up after finding one!)